Rania Matar: A Girl and Her Room
By David J. Carol
A good photographer can isolate and reduce all of the vi- sual information in a scene down to just the essentials to make a great image. Documentary photographer Rania Matar is a master at doing just that. She has that rare abil- ity to compose, balance and simplify complicated situations into refined and beautiful photographs both in her editorial
work in the Middle East and her personal work here in the United
States. In each case, she uses her innate talent to reveal something
personal and human about her subjects.
Her new book, A Girl and Her Room (Umbrage Editions, May
2012), contains pictures of young women in their bedrooms. It’s a
simple concept executed through sophisticated and perceptive imagery that commands you to think about the subject. I was fascinated by what these girls—who willingly opened their doors and their
lives to an outsider—chose to put on their walls, what objects they
surrounded themselves with, and how they chose to dress knowing
they were going to be photographed. Some of the girls seem timid
or fragile while others show confidence and power. These young
adults are on the precipice of entering the “real world” as they get
ready to leave the perceived safety of childhood behind; Matar captures each one’s true self honestly and powerfully.
Each month, David Carol highlights work from a photographer
who shoots for love, passion and personal expression.
David J. Carol is the director of photography at CBS Outdoor. His photographs
and award-winning photography books are in the collections of major museums
and institutions throughout the United States. He is a portfolio reviewer for ASMP
and Palm Springs Photo Festival, and judges photo contests for Rangefinder and
PDN, among others publications. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
his Web site, www.davidcarol.com.